Brandon Wayne Hutton loses appeal against nine-year sentence for fatal Geraldton house fire

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Police cordon off the home of Aaron Close on June 30, 2020.
Camera IconPolice cordon off the home of Aaron Close on June 30, 2020. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

A man jailed for nine years for manslaughter and arson over a Geraldton house fire that killed another man has had his appeal dropped.

Brandon Wayne Hutton launched an appeal against his sentence after he pleaded guilty to wilfully and unlawfully destroying by fire a property on Aaron Close in Karloo on June 29, 2020 and the unlawful killing of Garry John Backshall.

The maximum penalty for both offences is life imprisonment, but Hutton was sentenced to 18 months for the arson and 7½ years for manslaughter, ordered to be served cumulatively.

In arguing for an appeal, Hutton claims the manslaughter sentence was “manifestly excessive” and that the total effective sentence was unreasonable and unjust.

Brandon Wayne Hutton, who admitted to the manslaughter of Garry Backshall.
Camera IconBrandon Wayne Hutton, who admitted to the manslaughter of Garry Backshall. Credit: Instagram

In his Supreme Court sentencing, the court was told Hutton was blinded by rage after being told a relative of his had been sexually molested and he drove 600km to confront the alleged abuser, Mr Backshall.

Hutton had known Mr Backshall for almost 20 years as the victim was married to his mother-in-law.

When he heard allegations that 63-year-old Mr Backshall may have carried out the abuse more than a decade previously, he grabbed a knife and began driving towards Geraldton.

Despite pleas from others in the family not to, Hutton lured Mr Backshall to his Karloo property and then told him why he was really there.

“I’ve come here to kill you,” Hutton recorded himself saying. “I’m here to tell you that I know, and we’re going to sort it out tonight.

“I hope you have made good with everyone because this next bit and what goes on now depends on you.”

He then tried to slice the victim’s penis off and then started the blaze which eventually caused Mr Backshall’s death. It was likely fumes from the fire caused a heart attack, the court heard.

The Court of Appeal ruled Hutton’s case had no reasonable prospects of success, refused him leave and dismissed his appeal.

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